Effects of vitamin D on oral health
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced in our body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D is also known as sunshine vitamin. It is naturally present in very few foods and available as a dietary supplement. Skin, liver and kidney are the organs mainly involved in synthesis of Vitamin D in the body.
Why is Vitamin D important ?
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and maintains adequate levels to enable normal mineralization of bone, bone growth and bone remodeling. Insufficient vitamin D can cause bones to be thin, brittle, or malformed. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Along with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Studies have shown that there is association between poor vitamin D status with a myriad of diseases including many cancers like colorectal, prostate, breast cancers, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. Some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are getting sick more often, fatigue and tiredness, hair loss, impaired wound healing, back pain and depression.
Vitamin D and its effect on oral health
Vitamin D plays a vital role in oral health as well. Vitamin D is needed for mineralization of teeth i.e., its part like enamel and dentin and the supporting jaw bone. As a result of deficiency, inadequate mineralization can occur and lead to decreased integrity, placing them at higher risk for disease. Vitamin D levels can affect the calcification of tooth enamel of permanent teeth, the rate of tooth eruption, and the position of teeth. Inadequate levels of vitamin D may increase the risk for developing dental caries and periodontal disease Researches have also shown that low levels of vitamin D are associated with gum diseases like gingivitis, periodontitis and even tooth loss. Studies have shown that Vitamin D supplements can improve the outcomes of periodontal surgery. However, a proper consensus on the exact relationship, amount of supplementation and its impact are to be explored through controlled clinical trials.
Vitamin D and Dental implants ?
The relationship between serum levels of vitamin D and osseointegration of dental implants has been approached in very few studies, most of them in animals. These studies have suggested that adequate serum levels of vitamin D can enhance the healing of peri-implant bone tissue. However, there is a need of well-designed clinical trials to prove that vitamin D supplementation can promote the osseointegration of dental implants.
Sources and requirement of Vitamin D
The daily requirement of Vitamin D for infants is about 400 IU. Further age groups upto 70 years requirement is around 600 IU both for males and females. Older age group requires about 800 IU of vitamin D. Upper level of intake for infants is 1000 IU and for other age groups upper level is upto 3500-4000 IU.
Food sources are very few. Food items like fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon, foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, cereals, cheese and egg yolks are sources of vitamin D. Sun exposure is important for body to synthesize vitamin D. About 15-20 minutes of exposure three days per week is usually sufficient. In case of deficiency, doctors will suggest the appropriate supplements.
High levels of vitamin D may have protective effects on bone and teeth in the oral cavity. However, Vitamin D toxicity may adversely affect tooth morphology and oral bone development. Evaluating the levels of vitamin D and appropriate supplementation can aid in better health and positive dental treatment outcomes.